Kamala Harris says she will be 'first in line' for a coronavirus vaccine if health experts approve it, but 'if Donald Trump tells us we should take it, then I'm not taking it'

  • Sen. Kamala Harris said she will not take a coronavirus vaccine based on President Donald Trump's word alone.
  • "If Donald Trump tells us that we should take it, I'm not taking it," the Democratic vice presidential nominee said during Wednesday's debate.
  • Vice President Mike Pence slammed his opponent's remarks and told the California senator to "stop playing politics with people's lives."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris said on Wednesday that she will be "first in line" for a coronavirus vaccine — so long as it's backed by American scientists, not only by President Donald Trump.

"If the public health professionals, if Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take it, I'll be the first in line to take it. Absolutely," the California senator said during the first and only vice presidential debate. "But if Donald Trump tells us we should take it, I'm not taking it."

Vice President Mike Pence immediately rebuked the remarks and told Harris to "stop playing politics with people's lives."

"The reality is that we will have a vaccine, we believe, before the end of this year and it will have the capacity to save countless American lives," he added. "Your continuous undermining of confidence in a vaccine is just unacceptable."

The back-and-forth came during a heated exchange at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City about the Trump administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump has consistently pushed for a coronavirus vaccine to be ready before Election Day, though his own health experts, including top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, have signaled that one will likely not be available until next year.

On Tuesday evening, the president, who has tested positive for the coronavirus, blasted Food and Drug Administration chief Stephen Hahn for tightening guidelines for vaccine producers.

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